Release type: Media Release


Government strengthens building industry reforms


Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Minister for Employment
Minister for Women
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
Senator for Western Australia

Tonight, the Senate voted to strengthen the Turnbull Government’s reforms to the building and construction industry.

Last year, Parliament voted to reintroduce the Australian Building and Construction Commission, delivering a tough cop on the beat to enforce the rule of law and ensure unlawful action on building sites is properly investigated, dealt with and penalised.

At the same time, it voted to introduce a new Building Code for Australian Government-funded projects to end the cartel between the big builders and unions, provide greater protections for small business and prohibit content within enterprise agreements which restricts productivity.

The full benefit of these vital reforms will now be realised much sooner.

The Building Code had contained a two-year transition period. As a result of last night’s amendments, this is reduced to nine months. Importantly, companies with non-code compliant agreements can tender for, but not be awarded taxpayer-funded projects during this transition.

All Australians pay a heavy price for union lawlessness and intimidation in Australia’s third largest industry through higher costs, taxes and lost economic opportunities.

The high level of industrial disputes in the construction industry – currently six times the industry average – is estimated to add an additional 30 per cent to the cost of infrastructure.

Our reforms help the construction industry’s 1.1 million workers and 300,000 small construction businesses who rely on co-operative, productive workplaces and a fair system.

And they will mean better value for taxpayers, who will be able to get more schools, hospitals and roads and other vital public infrastructure than would otherwise be the case.

This is excellent news for small businesses, construction workers and taxpayers and will boost economic growth, encourage job creation and improve Australia’s international competitiveness.

The Labor Party and the Australian Greens proved yet again they are utterly beholden to militant unions. They are shameless in their willingness to sacrifice the national interest in order to appease their union puppet-masters. Bill Shorten has shown that, when it comes to standing up to union bullies, he is the weakest Labor leader in decades.

The Government commends the efforts of crossbench Senators for helping deliver this significant reform. The Turnbull Government continues to show that the 45th Parliament is continuing to deliver substantial reforms to the benefit of all Australians.